Soon, I’ll be Ready to go off and join Robin!

What do sharp objects, giant elastics, a well trained Vizsla, aim and a bit of girl power have in common?

Archery.  I did it.  It was awesome!

Saturday started off overcast and miserable, but by the time we got out to the archery range, it was a beautiful (if chilly) blue-skied autumn day.  We were at the York County Bowmen for Warrior Princess Archery, an event organized by a group dedicated to women doing activities that don’t fall into the ‘typical female roles’.

We got a quick run-through of archery terms and safety from a nice old man.  He was corrected partway through his explanation, though, because apparently ‘cock feather’ is no longer the accepted term for the different-coloured ‘feather’ on the arrow (which is supposed to be the one that faces you when you’re shooting).

“I’ve been doing archery for over 40 years, are you going to make a liar of me?” he asked jokingly.  For the rest of the day, whenever he made any mention of that particular feather, he said ‘index feather’ in the most mocking voice ever.  Hilarious!

The day went fabulously, it was a ton of fun, and I learned a lot.  Both about archery and about the fact that I really
want to do it again.

It is much harder to hit the target than it seems in the Wii game.  I finally got to the point where most of my arrows hit the board (which required me to aim about two feet below the board)… then I tried to focus on most of them hitting and sticking.  That was helped greatly after I switched from a 16 lb bow to a 25 lb bow.

There are some really really cool bows out there.  Some of the instructors out helping us brought their own bows, and they are INTENSE.  Both the competition and hunting style bows (very long vs quite short), completely unlike the basic bows we were provided with.  Ours looked a bit like a cross between Robin Hood and Ikea.  Their bows looked more like a cross between Robin Hood and the Terminator.

the archery-yoda correcting my technique!

The sound of over 20 bows all firing at once: Kind of scary.  I can’t imagine what it would have been like in medieval wars – 20000 bows all firing at once! The image of over 20 arrows on and around the same board… surrounding but not bursting the balloon we were aiming for:  hilarious.  We did at least 6 group shots attempting to kill that balloon, and failed completely.  If this were a real firing squad, our prisoner should have been allowed to go free… isn’t that the rule?

The old man who gave us our preliminary instructions explained to me how I should hold my bow.  He said, “Not everyone holds it this way, but all the good archers do.”  That translates to “you can shoot the arrow any way you want…but if you want to hit the target, do it this way”

A man brought his gorgeous and well-trained Vizsla to the range.  I can’t imagine how hard it would be to train a dog to stay on ‘this side’ of an imaginary line until the go-ahead for going to retrieve your arrows has been given.  Gwynn would have been off chasing every arrow, probably skewered in the process.  Also, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again:  I love Vizslas!  They’re so soft and elegant and sleek looking!  And this one just became a dad to a litter of Vizsla/Catahoula Leopard Dog pups.  They’re going to grow up looking like white Vizslas with leopard spots, and their current 3 weeks pictures were the most adorable thing.  The owner of the Vizsla was basically offering to give me a chance to buy one of the pups, I think(we had a long talk about dogs before he brought up the puppies).  It was ridiculously tempting, but Vizslas make my sister allergic, and their energy level would make me either a dead dog-owner or a bad one.  I’d be exercised to death or the dog would be under-exercised to obesity.  *Sigh*  Maybe in my next life, I’ll be a high-energy marathon-training type person… or at least live somewhere with lots of open area for running around… then I’ll get a Vizsla!

By the end of the day, I was nearly always hitting the target, and my arrows were sticking about half the time.  My friends and I rounded out the evening by going to a Chinese-Italian eatery decorated in a vaguely old-West theme for dinner.  Who could resist the temptation of finding out just what constitutes Chinese-Italian?  Turns out, it was
pretty much an American-Chinese food place with the option of getting pizza.



  1. I’ve always wanted to try archery but I don’t think I could hold a 25 pound bow!! Good for you!!

    I love the look of the Vizslas myself. They are a very beautiful breed.

    • it wasn’t the weight of the bow, it was how much pressure would be applied on the arrow if you drew the string the correct distance. it was considerably harder to draw with that bow than the 16 lb bow, but the arrow sure went further and harder! 🙂
      They really are very pretty, and so high energy!

  2. I LOVE archery! I’ve done it several times, and a friend of mine has taken extensive courses.

    Chinese-American with a pizza option, eh? Interesting……

    • I am definitley loving the archery thing – if this club weren’t over an hour from my house, i’d be tempted to start taking classes or something.

  3. Were your arms and shoulders killing you the next day? Good for you for trying something new.

    • surprisingly not. During the day, i could feel it in my arms a bit, but the next day i was fine and back to usual again.

  4. TheIdiotSpeaketh

     /  October 4, 2011

    OK…the next time the Harem goes to battle with another blogger, you are leading the way with your bow! I’ll be crouched right behind you, lending you support…… 🙂

    • aye aye! behind me is the best place to be if i’m shooting arrows – there is no guarantee that it’ll go the way I expect it to 😛

  5. Hah! Way to use me as the first reason not to get the puppy… I hope you realize that I’m not nearly as allergic to Bailey, and therefore am not as allergic to the other really-short haired dogs 😀 When I go over to C’s house, I’m mainly allergic to the pounds of dander still rubbed into everything in their house from when they had the other animals that I was allergic to (bird and 2 cats).
    That cheetah doggie looks amazing, I want one…
    do you think that they do doodle mixes? 😀 (I may not be as allergic, but still)
    I’m jealous! I want to be taught ninja jedi archery skillz from yoda man!

    • part of the problem with doodle mixes for dogs like Vizslas is that it takes away a big part of what makes me love them – it isn’t just a low-allergen vizsla (sleek soft velvet coat and all)… it’s this hairy adorable dog that in no way resembles a vizsla. Same with Weimardoodles. Sad, but true. Google them, and you’ll find (though i have no idea what a Vizsla-doodle would be called) that they’re cute, but they aren’t… Vizsla.
      Whereas australian shepherds are fluffy and adorable… mixing with poodle produces a fluffy and adorale dog, just with a different coat. but it’s still fluff-to-fluff… it still gets that ‘je ne sais quoi’ of australian shepherd.
      And yeah, the catahoulan leopard dog = SO FREAKING ADORABLE! and just imagine a vizsla with that pattern! I believe the response is *Squeee!*

  6. I have actually done archery. A million years ago in high school. It was one of the sporto things we did that I was actually good at. 🙂

    My husband is a bow hunter so he has that type of bow.

    Vizslas are great dogs. But you are right. Most are high energy.

    • I wish my highschool had done archery. I might have continued in gym class after grade 9 if that was the case!
      My cousin started getting into bow hunting last year, though i’m nto sure if he’s done more than just target practice so far. He’s got the intense hunting bow… but I don’t think he has the knowledge of what to do with his prey if he actually HITS it 😛
      Very cool that your husband does bow hunting. do the 2 brown dawgs retrieve missed arrows as well? That would be super handy 🙂
      The Vizslas that I’ve met are all such sweeties… but their owners all seem to be runners to some extent. If i was a runner, having a dog with that much energy would be great… as it is, I would feel bad that I wasn’t exercising him enough. I lucked out with Gwynn’s energy level. He can go-go-go for hours… but he can also spend a rainy day playing in the house.

      • Alas the 2 brown dawgs don’t get to go along on deer hunting outings. (Although they could track one if needed.) Thunder did retrieve some decoys a couple of weeks ago. My husband was hunting the river and they drifted too far out to get without full waders, so he sent the dog. 🙂

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